As I set remembering the 9/11 attacks I am struck with how vivid the memory is. I was just getting ready to leave for work when The Today Show broke in with a news flash that a plane had apparently hit the World Trade Center and their first inclination was that it must have been a small aircraft.
Quickly it became apparent that it was not a small aircraft due to the size of the gapping hole in the side of the North tower. Within a few minutes…on live television was the horrendous crash of United Airlines Flight 175 into the South tower.
At this point I alerted my family that our country was being attacked.
At 9:43 a.m. American Airlines 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
At 9:45 a.m. the White House evacuates.
At 10:05 a.m. the South tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
At 10:10 a.m.a portion of the Pentagon collapses.
At 10:28 a.m. the North tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
At 10:48 a.m. a plane crash in Pennsylvania is confirmed.
As I proceeded to Southern Illinois University I seriously wondered if this attack would include locations like SIU. I spoke with Mary Jane and my friend, the former Chancellor, Jo Ann Argersinger and admonished her to be especially careful as radical elements might be looking for opportunity to hurt University leaders or former leaders.
I waked through the Student Center which was packed with student watching the news coverage. One student called out, “I am just here to find a Rag Head to kill!”
I was broken hearted and in despair at the genocide that had been perpetrated on our beloved country…and I was frightened at the xenophobia being expressed.
“One day after the September 11 attacks, Le Monde, the famed French newspaper, ran a front page editorial under the headline ‘NOUS SOMMES TOUS AMERICAINS,’ or we are all Americans,” according to Mental_floss.
Buckingham Palace broke with tradition on September 14, 2001 when the Queen allowed her troops to play the Star Spangled Banner to honor the many United States citizens who had died on 9/11.
“Standing beyond the palace railings, many of the 5,000 Americans broke down in tears and held their right hands over their heart in salute,” according to the Telegraph.
The United States Congress joined to sing God Bless America on the Capitol steps on the evening of 9/11.
For two years after 9/11 I wore pins on my suite lapel commemorating the tragic event.
We were united after 9/11. We all knew that we have to get through this together. We are stronger united than divided. Political Party was no longer relevant. George W. Bush exhibited leadership in his initial response to the terrorist. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was a study in leadership under extreme stress.
Truly we need the spirit of unity that came to us so naturally in the dark days of 9/11. Unity in our wonderful country…including all races, creeds, and colors. Acceptance of religions that are different from ours…and a return to the bedrock belief that the greatness of the United States comes from the embracing of its’ diversity.